Cheesy Ensaymada – Filipino Brioche

Cheesy Ensaymada – Filipino Brioche

Ensaymada is one of my favorite Filipino treats.  It has been a popular Filipino roll for over 4 centuries ever since it was adapted from the Spanish pastry called Ensaimada which originated is Mallorca, Spain.

There or many versions of this Filipino roll which like a brioche is sweet and fluffy.  Many bakeries specialize in this yummy pastry, a couple of my favorites are Goldilocks and Red Ribbon.  Unlike the brioche which has no topping Ensaymadas are slathered in butter, dipped in sugar and sprinkled with cheese, in many cases “queso de bola” the Filipino name for Edam.

Since it’s a family favorite it’s no wonder that the aunties have their own favorite recipe.  In fact there are one or two aunties who are known for making Ensaymada, a treat which they bring to most family gatherings.

But one can’t rely on the aunties to make this favorite roll, specially since we all live so far apart.  That’s why I’ve started making Ensaymada at home, using auntie’s recipe of course!

The ensaymada dough is rolled and placed into tart pans, it’s the best way to ensure uniform size and shape.  I use these 5″ aluminum tart pans I buy from Amazon.  I’ve found it was the least expensive way to buy them.  And of course being Asian I wash and reuse them!

If I can’t find Edam cheese I use grated cheddar cheese instead.  The other ingredients are things you probably already have in the pantry and fridge.  It also calls for a dozen egg yolks, I know you’re left trying to figure out what to do with the egg whites!  How about making Pavlovas?  Here’s my Pavlova recipe, it’s definitely worth a try!

The Ensaymada recipe is pretty easy, but it does take several hours because the dough has to rise.  I usually start early in the morning and am done sometime in the afternoon, depending on how fast the dough rises.  I use the dough hook on my stand mixer to knead the dough, but you can also knead it by hand.

Homemade Ensaymada may take time and patience, but it is definitely worth the effort!

Cheesy Ensaymada


1 Cup Warm Water

2 Tbs. Sugar

2 Tbs. Yeast

8 Cups Flour

1 1/2 Cup Whole Milk

1 Cup Sugar

12 Egg Yolks

1 Cup Butter softened

24 Tsp. Grated Edam


1 Stick Butter softened

1/2 Cup Sugar

Grated Edam


Mix Warm Water, 2 Tbs. sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl.

Let stand in a warm place for 20 minutes, it should be foamy.

Add 1 Cup of flour to yeast mixture and mix well.

Let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes, set your timer so it doesn’t over rise.

Add milk, 1 cup sugar, egg yolks, and butter to the yeast mixture, mix well.

Add remaining 7 cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time.  Mix well between additions.

Knead dough until flour is all combined, do not over knead.

Divide dough into 24 balls working 1 tsp. cheese into each ball.

Flatten each ball with a rolling pin to about 1/2″ thick then roll into a cigar shape that’s about 10″ long rope.

Coil rope into each tart pan.

Place in a warm place and let rise for 3-4 hour.  Top of roll will be above tart pan rim.

Pre-heat over to 325 degrees. Once it reaches temperature wait 10 minutes then put ensaymada in the over.  (I place tart pans on a large baking sheet and slide the whole sheet in the oven.

Bake 7 Minutes then rotate pan 180 degrees and bake for another 7 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Remove from pans and brush tops with softened butter.

Dip each roll in sugar then sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Wrap each roll in plastic wrap.

Rolls may be frozen by placing wrapped rolls in a freezer bag.  Warm frozen rolls in microwave for about 1 minute.

They are delicious for breakfast!

Cheesy Ensaymada - Filipino Brioche
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Autumn Cobb Salad

Autumn Cobb Salad

Autumn Cobb Salad

Roasted squash, crunchy apples and dried cherries add seasonal freshness to this autumnal cobb salad, dressed in a spiced apple cider vinaigrette and topped with candied walnuts.

It’s that time of year where I’m either straddling the urge to pull out my chunky sweaters and hunker down with ooey gooey comfort food, or dig in my heels and cling to the straggling bounty of summer and all the freshness it holds.

Your comments, clicks and likes overwhelmingly say you’re in the same camp I am. Long live the salad! So at your request, I present a fall-inspired leafy beauty that will con any non-salad eater into giving the greens a go with the tease of chicken, bacon and eggs and more.

This started out as a simple salad. And then as things tend to go in my world, it quickly escalated to a full blow affair.

Butternut squash? Sure! But let’s add acorn squash too just to be sure.

Crisp apples sliced so thin you can eat 4 or 9 at a time? You bet. But lets add even more bite with crunchy nips of celery ribs. I’ve been consumed with celery lately. I never expected that!

Romaine lettuce as our bed? Sounds good, but let’s pile onto the plushness with arugula and radicchio, too.

Bacon? Eggs? Avocado, chicken and cheese? Of course they’re all there because they’re Cobb classic.

But just for fun let’s toss in some sweetness with dried cherries and candied walnuts. I mean, who doesn’t like a little dessert with their salad?

About the Recipe

Don’t be afeared of the length of this grocery list. This salad is a true mix and match, making best of what’s in the fridge to pull from the depths of the crisper and moving along accordingly.

Got corn? Zucchini? Pears or peaches? Any of these flavor makers would pair swimmingly with what we have going on here.

I made up for the sheer number of flavors by drizzling this salad with a simple 3-ingredient dressing that just happens to echo my favorite flavor of fall. Spiced apple cider!

There’s a bit of roasting to do and of course there’s chopping. But really this salad comes together fast.

The most sensitive part of this recipe is when preparing the candied walnuts, and so long as you don’t leave the room to go change the laundry and then get side tracked when you quickly look up to see if Mercury is in retrograde because all of your electronics are going full-on spastic and stroking out, you should be in good shape.

Not that I’d know anything about that. (Sadly, my iMac’s hard drive and I do. Always back up your files people!)

This salad is a meal preppers dream.

Nearly all of the ingredients for this salad can be prepared at once and assembled as your week progresses. Roast your squash and chop your cheese and celery. Hard boiled eggs can be cooked, cooled and peeled. Cook and dice your chicken, fry the bacon and candy that nut. Then simply bag individual portions and toss together with your already chopped and portioned salad greens when ready to eat. The only last minute additions will be slicing your apple and avo.

I originally made this for lunch, and then we had it for dinner too. It’s the salad that just keeps on giving. And man, how I like that.

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram or Twitter and Facebook with #savvynana.

Autumn Cobb Salad
Roasted squash, crunchy apples and dried cherries add seasonal freshness to traditional Cobb salad ingredients dressed in a spiced apple cider vinaigrette and topped with candied walnuts.
    • 1/2 acorn squash seeded and peeled then cut into 3/4-inch pieces
    • 1/2 small butternut squash seeded and peeled then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
    • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 1 cup walnut halves
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/3 cup spiced apple cider
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 6 cups mixed salad greens such as romaine, radicchio and arugula
    • 4 sliced cooked bacon chopped
    • 3 hard boiled eggs sliced
    • 1 baked chicken breast chopped
    • 1 stalk celery chopped
    • 1 avocado peeled and pitted then thinly sliced
    • 1 apple such as Gala or honey crisp cored and thinly sliced
    • 3/4 cup white cheddar cheese chopped
    • 1/2 cup dried cherries


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place the acorn squash on one side of a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and the butternut squash on the other side of the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil or vegetable oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the squash is tender. Let cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together 1 1/2 tablespoons water and the brown sugar in a non-stick pan and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture slightly thickens then add the walnuts and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the sauce reduces and the nuts become fragrant. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with kosher salt. Separate the nuts with a fork and cool.
  4. In a small jar, combine the vegetable oil, spiced apple cider, Dijon mustard and season with kosher salt and pepper. Shake the jar until well combined and emulsified. Taste for seasoning and add more apple cider to taste.
  5. In a large bowl, add the salad greens. Top with rows of bacon, hard boiled egg, chicken, celery, avocado, apple, cheddar cheese, dried cherries and candied walnuts. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.


Autumn Cobb Salad | #recipes #dressing #apples #easy #healthy #butternutsquash #chicken #harvest

Thanks for stopping by, and you know what they say, “Get in the kitchen and cook something good!”

Butter Mochi

Butter Mochi

When I was growing up surrounded by family, mostly all were Filipino, this yummy dessert was called Bibinka.  It’s soft and sticky in the middle with a bit of coconutty crust on top.

When my family moved to Hawaii back in the late 1970’s what we called Bibinka was called Butter Mochi.  They are essentially the same thing and whatever you call it it’s delicious!

I looked up the recipe for both Butter Mochi and Bibinka and they are very similar.  In fact when I make it I often interchange the recipes.  My kids and grandkids love it which ever recipe I use.

Both ingredients use Sweet Rice Flour which can be purchased at an Asian Market.   They also so use coconut milk which again can be  purchased at the Asian Market.

Butter Mochi


1 Box Mochiko Flour (Sweet rice flour)

2 Eggs, beaten

1/2 Cup melted butter

1 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 Tsp. Vanilla

1 3/4 Cup Sugar

1 Can Coconut milk

1 Can Evaporated Milk

1/2 Cup Water


Oil a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

Pour into baking pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the middle is firm.

Cool and cut into squares.


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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chips are probably the most popular cookies in the world.  I know they’re my favorite.  I also know that there are many recipes out there and we all have our favorites.

The original creator of the chocolate chip cookie is said to be Ruth Graves Wakefield.  She first made it in the late 1930’s when she and her husband owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts.  The Inn was a popular restaurant known for its home cooking and desserts.  She created the cookie to serve to her guests, the recipe was published in the Boston Herald-Traveler and she was featured on a radio program hosted by Marjorie Husted aka Betty Crocker.  She later gave her recipe to Nestle and was paid with a lifetime supply of chocolate.  The recipe was also published in the 1938 edition of her cookbook “Ruth Wakefield’s Tried and True Recipes”.  It rapidly became a favorite cookie in American homes.  As they say the rest is history.

As much as I love homemade chocolate chip cookies (I have several favorite recipes), I’m not too fond of making them.  Actually I’m not a great fan of making any type of cookie, not because it’s difficult, more so because I find it tedious.

I find that dropping, cutting, or pressing cookies on to sheet and baking for less than 10 minutes is tiresome.  The only time I really enjoy making cookies is when I do my Christmas baking when I devote a couple of days in the activity with my grandchildren.  That’s why I absolutely love bar cookies!

Cookie bars are so easy to make.  You mix the dough, spread into a pan, bake, cool, and cut into bars.  It’s a wonderful way to get your homemade cookie fix without spending the day in the kitchen.  And chocolate cookies are no exception.  Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are just as yummy as any Chocolate Chip Cookie you can make.  So here’s a recipe so you can make some today.  You probably already have all the ingredients in you kitchen!

One thing I’ve found when baking chocolate chip cookies, or actually when baking anything, that’s to use the best and freshest ingredients available.  I never use generic brands so for this cookie stick with Nestle’s Toll House Semi-Sweet chips, Guittard, or Gharadelli brands.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


2 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Cup Butter, softened

3/4  Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

2 Eggs

1 12-0z Package Semi Sweet Chocolate chips

Nuts are optional, but if you want to add them use 1 cup of the nut you prefer, chopped up of course.


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking pan

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Cream together butter and both  sugars using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer.  If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer.

Add vanilla and mix  until creamy.

Add in eggs one at a time while continuing to mix.

Gradually add in dry ingredients making sure to mix it well.

Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if you’re using nuts.

Spread evenly in the pan.

Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool for about 10 minutes then cut into bars.

I use flip the pan over onto a large sheet and use a pizza cutter to cut it into bars.  I find it easier to cut into even pieces.




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Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This is the perfect side for your next BBQ.








1 lb. penne

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

Kosher salt

2 c. chopped romaine lettuce

1 c. halved grape tomatoes

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan

1/2 c. croutons

2/3 c. Caesar dressing

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley 

Freshly ground black pepper



In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook penne according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to large bowl. 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Season chicken with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Cook until golden and cooked through, 8 minutes per side. Let rest 10 minutes, then cut into 1″ pieces. 

Add romaine, tomatoes, Parmesan, croutons, and chicken to pasta bowl. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together Caesar dressing, lemon juice, and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Pour over penne mixture and toss to combine. 

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
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Key Lime Pie Recipe

Key Lime Pie Recipe

Key Lime Pie is my favorite.  It’s sweet tartness is very refreshing, specially in the summer.

The first time I had Key Lime Pie was at a small local restaurant in Key West, Florida.  It was love at first bite!   Of course there it’s a very popular dessert; Key West has long claimed the pie originated on their tiny island using the small thin skin limes associated with the island.

You might be wondering what makes the Key Lime so special.  It’s a citrus hybrid that is smaller, rounder, and seedier than the usual larger more oval limes.  Key Lime, also known as Mexican Lime, Omani Lime, and West Indian Lime, also have a stronger aroma, more acidic, and thinner rind than its larger counterpart.

Whatever the case may be as the famed ingredient in Key Lime Pie it’s delicious!  Of course you can substitute other limes to make Key Lime Pie, but seriously it isn’t quite the same.  But in many places finding fresh Key Limes is not always easy. However you can buy Key Lime Juice in some stores and definitely on Amazon.  Living in Hawaii I rarely find fresh Key Limes and must resort to using the bottled juice.  I do garnish my pie with a slice of fresh lime, whatever type I manage to find.

There are many Key Lime Pie recipes out there, and believe me I’ve tried more than a few.  But for me easy is best.  This mean I do not like to make pie crust, it’s one chore I avoid whenever possible.  Now Key Lime Pie is usually made with a Graham Cracker crust, of course you can make your own, there are many recipes for this, or be like me and use store bought Graham Cracker Crusts.

You also need Whipped Cream, which of course you can buy spray cans of in your grocer’s dairy section.  That would be the easiest.  But although I’m always looking for the easy way, I make my own whipped cream.  I prefer homemade whipped cream simply because I love the taste of freshly whipped cream.  I like to pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie using a large star tip, or sometimes just around the outer edge and a large dollop in the middle.  But if you don’t what to make your own whipped cream the spay cans will do just fine, you won’t even need a star tip and piping bag to decorate the top of your pie.

So having said all that here’s my recipe, it includes instructions on homemade whipped cream.

Key Lime Pie


1  9″ Graham Cracker Pie Crust (homemade or store bought)

1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

3/4 Cup Key Lime Juice

1 Cup Fresh Heavy Whipping Cream – cold

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

Fresh Lime Slice


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk condensed milk, sour cream, and lime juice together in a medium bowl.

Whisk until smooth.

Pour into prepared crust.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool on counter for about 30 minutes.

Chill pie in refrigerator at least 3 hours.

Before serving make whipped cream:

Using the whipping attachment to your standup mixer or the beaters of a hand held mixer beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.

Beat in vanilla.

Pipe on top of chilled pie.

Garnish with a slice of lime if desired.


Key Lime Pie Recipe
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